Ive been on the mailing list for The Chorleywood Bookshop for ages, but this is the first time I got my backside in gear and booked a ticket for one of their ‘An Evening With’ events. And who was the lucky author who got to spend the evening with me?
The one and only celebrity chef, John Torode!
Let me just start by saying that ‘Masterchef’ is my happy place. The world could be falling apart around my ears, but as long as I can watch Greg rhapsodising over a dessert and John saying the immortal words “It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing” to a bowl of red curry, then I am one happy bunny.
The event was held at the Christ Church in Chorleywood, and I mistakenly thought that getting there half an hour early would mean I was able to choose a seat at my leisure. Wrong. The place was already pretty full. Thankfully though as I was billy no mates and there was a lone seat on the front row, I nabbed it. Yay! Prime position. Sometimes it pays to do things on your own.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a really relaxed conversational evening, with John telling us anecdotes about his travels, his life and his time at Quaglinos, which is where he first met Greg Wallace. Greg used to supply fruit and veg to the restaurant and John asked him to find some rather hard to get hold of coriander roots. He found them, and the friendship went on from there. Apparently they would meet for a morning coffee to wake them up each day. What type of coffee? A Wasa Coffee of course. It ‘was a’ coffee before the brandy went in…. I like this chap.
Of course the reason John was there wasn’t just to entertain a group of random people for a couple of hours, but to talk about his new book “Sydney to Seoul” which is a collection of recipes from his travels in Australia and the Far East. Yes, I bought a copy, and yes, the recipes look gorgeous, as does the photography. The one recipe that he would recommend from it? The Thai fish cakes. I’ll let you know how I get on.
At the end of the session, the audience were allowed to ask questions, so I thought I’d wade in with something obviously profound. Yeah right… I asked if there was one thing that he couldn’t stand to eat, and what he would do if presented with it on Masterchef? His reply was classic.. [you have to do the accent for full impact though] “Well, I don’t really like to eat anything that produces wee.”
Kidneys!!! The man was talking about kidneys.
Thank God for that.
He did however say, that he would be polite if presented with them on Masterchef and comment on how they were seasoned. So if you still want to go on there and make a steak and kidney pie…make sure you season it bloody well.
Questions over, John signed his way through at least 50 books (including mine) where we discussed the merits of red wine and how difficult it is to have just the one bottle. I always new he was a good sort.
Here’s what I learned about my evening:
1 I would definitely go to another ‘evening with’ event. They are relaxed, good value, well organised and most importantly…they have wine there.
2 John Torode comes across as a really likeable bloke who knows his stuff. But then he is an Aussie so I’m a bit biased.
3 The reason why it’s hard to find lime leaves is because the drug cartels use them to disguise the smell of drugs from sniffer dogs
4 If you always want to enjoy great food in restaurants around the world, ask a good chef where they like to eat, that way you will always have a list of great places to try.
5 Don’t go to McDonalds on the way home after talking about mouthwatering Asian food all night as you will only want to cry.